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Last Last Chance

by

Last Last Chance Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A Time Out New York Best Book of the Year

Named one of the 5 Best Writers Under 35 by the National Book Foundation

Includes an Author Interview and Discussion Questions

A lethal strain of virus vanishes from a lab in Washington, D.C., unleashing an epidemic--and the world thinks Lucy Clark's father is to blame. The plague may be the least of Lucy's problems. There's her mother, Isifrid, a peddler of high-end hatwear who's also a crackhead; her twelve-year-old half sister, Hannah, obsessed with disease and Christian fundamentalism; and Lucy's lover, Stanley, who's hell-bent on finding a womb for his dead wife's frozen eggs. Finally, there's Lucy herself, who tries to surmount her drug addiction and keep her family intact in this brilliant novel about survival and recovery, opportunity and apocalypse, and, finally, love and faith in an age of anxiety.

Fiona Maazel, born in 1975, was the 2005 Lannan Foundation fiction fellow. She lives in Brooklyn.
Last Last Chance, Fiona Maazels first novel, is one of the most distinctive debuts of recent years: a comic tale about (in no particular order) plague, narcotics recovery, and reincarnation.

A lethal strain of virus vanishes from a lab in Washington, D.C., unleashing an epidemic—and the world thinks Lucy Clarks dead father is to blame. The plague may be the least of Lucys problems. Theres her mother, Isifrid, a peddler of high-end hatwear whos also a crackhead and pagan theologist. Theres her twelve-year-old half sister, Hannah, obsessed with disease and Christian fundamentalism; and Lucys lover, Stanley, whos hell-bent on finding a womb for his dead wifes frozen eggs. Lastly, theres her grandmother Agneth, who believes in reincarnation (and who turns out to be right). And then there is Lucy herself, whose wise, warped approach to life makes her an ideal guide to love among the ruins. Romping across the country, from Southern California to the Texas desert to rural Pennsylvania and New York City, Lucy tries to surmount her drug addiction and to keep her family intact—and tells us, uproariously, all about it.

Last Last Chance is a novel about survival and recovery, opportunity and despair, and, finally, love and faith in an age of anxiety. It introduces Maazel as a new writer of phenomenal gifts.

"Maazel's book has enough event—and enough eccentricity—to torpedo your average novel. But Last Last Chance isn't your average novel, thanks in no small part to Maazel's funny, lacerating prose. The book fits squarely in the tradition of novels about the wealthy and dissolute, but ultimately it's less John Cheever than Denis Johnson—the Denis Johnson of Jesus' Son, with its drug-addled narrators—though Maazel's voice is more caffeinated, more fueled by attitude . . . and more prone to hectoring . . . Maazel is particularly adept at conveying the desperation of the addict, how everything—even a potentially world-ending plague—is eclipsed by the need for a fix."—Joshua Henkin, The New York Times

"Crisp dialogue, brisk pacing, dark yet compassionate comedy . . . A remarkable feat of the imagination."—Newsday

"Moving, buoyant, and utterly true . . . Last Last Chance isn't your average novel, thanks in no small part to Maazel's funny, lacerating prose . . . Maazel is such a fine, precise writer, she can convince the reader of almost anything."—The New York Times Book Review

"Maazel writes with a kind of ecstatic swagger--freewheeling and cocksure, intelligent and loopy and funny as hell."—Slate

"Lithe prose, crackling wit, and a deep appreciation for the absurdity, spirtual poverty, and occasional nobility of Americans in a time of extreme crisis."—Time Out New York

"Read this book now for the sentence-by-sentence brilliance of Maazel's inimitable voice . . . Maazel was born in 1975, but her imagination has been on fire for a thousand years."—Joshua Ferris, author of Then We Came to the End

"When a lethal strain of virus vanishes from a lab in Washington, D.C., letting a super-plague loose on the world, Lucy Clark's father, a chemist, is blamed for its release. He promptly commits suicide, leaving his incredibly dysfunctional family to deal with the aftermath. The characters of Lucy and her mother, Isifrid, half-sister Hannah, and grandmother Agneth are developed in a hilarious fashion as we learn of their eccentricities. Lucy works in a kosher chicken processing plant. Isifrid sells high-end ladies' hats and studies Norse pagan theology. Hannah is obsessed with the plague and is a staunch believer in Christian fundamentalism. Agneth believes in reincarnation, and in Last Last Chance, her beliefs are proven to be right. Lucy's lover, Stanley, possesses his dead wife's frozen eggs, and they are interviewing for an appropriate surrogate to become the incubator for their yet-to-be born conceived children. From the first pages, drug addiction is also developed skillfully as a central supporting character. The author weaves the face of a drug addict into every story line in the book with deadly accuracy in detail. In the opening chapter, Lucy, an addict, is making plans to attend her oldest and best friend's wedding after a period of alienation. She goes to great lengths to buy just the right outfits for herself and Stanley and practices what she will say to her friend, Kam, and her financée when they are reunited. Unfortunately, she learns all too late that she has missed the wedding, because she was high when she looked at the invitation and misread the date. After this mistake, Lucy binges on drugs and eventually enters rehab at the insistence of her mother, who is also an addict. Lucy is in rehab when the super-plague surfaces and thousands of people begin to die. Her mother brings the family to rehab to hide from authorities who are seeking information about her dead husband's involvement in releasing the virus. She brings drugs, which Lucy helps herself to. When they are caught, Lucy's mother faces the painful fact that she must come to terms with her own addiction. Last Last Chance is creative, entertaining, and honest. Mental health professionals, especially drug counselors, will both enjoy and learn from this comic novel. The story explores the extent to which drug addiction influences and devastates people's lives, while leaving the door open for hope. This is seen when Lucy takes advantage of the chance to rehabilitate herself—in this case, her last last chance."—Sharron Perry, Psychiatric Services

"A mordantly comic debut novel about plague, addiction and botched romance. First, there's Lucy. She's an addict. She's tried 12-step programs, rehab and working on a kosher chicken farm, but nothing seems to help. Then there's her mother, who is also an addict and even less committed to sobering up than Lucy. There's her grandmother, Agneth, who believes in reincarnation, and her preteen half sister, Hannah, who spends her free time studying infectious diseases and hanging out with white-supremacist fundamentalist Christians. There's also Stanley, a co-worker from the chicken farm, who is trying to find someone to gestate his dead wife's frozen gametes. There are the many dead, yet present, souls who inhabit (sort of) the novel's living characters. Then there's Lucy's father, who recently killed himself after a deadly virus went missing from his lab. Finally, there's the rest of the world, already enduring an age of anxiety and now just beginning to panic about the 'superplague' that's on the loose. Lucy is a loser and rather addled, but she's an engaging narrator, and her views on addiction and recovery are frequently funny and insightful. She stops into a 12-step meeting just after the virus has started to take its first victims and offers this assessment: 'The meeting goes on. No one mentions superplague, but then no one would. We are entirely too self-centered to let such matters upstage miseries of our own devising.' This observation captures much of the action in the novel. Maazel deftly depicts how routine trumps crisis, and how personal dramas tend to take precedence over global catastrophes. Lucy, for example, is far more angst-ridden over a failed romance than she is about looming mass extinction. Killer viruses, when they appear in fiction, are generally the catalyst for fast-paced thrills, and there is a certain off-kilter appeal to Maazel's slower, more intimate and aimless approach."—Kirkus Reviews

"Lucy is a drug addict, as is her mother. Her grandmother believes in reincarnation. Her half-sister believes in research and Jesus. Her father is believed to have released an incurable strain of the plague that is killing capriciously across the United States. Lucy, in her way, hopes to get drug-free, but her pessimistic outlook, her chronic depression, her crazy family, and the world that surrounds her all conspire to keep her from achieving that goal. She can't have the man she loves; she doesn't appreciate the man she has. After a wild stay at a Texas rehab, Lucy finds that her sense of the world has shifted. When her mother dies, and Lucy 'inherits' her best friend's baby, her transformation to cautious optimism is complete. First novelist Maazel's descriptive powers are strong, and she captures the alternating hope and despair of her complex and quirky characters as they confront the unknown and the unknowable. Recommended."—Joanna M. Burkhardt, School Library Journal

"A sprawling debut with an alternately absurdist and sardonic tone, Maazel's debut follows the tribulations of Lucy, a young drug addict who works at a New York City kosher chicken plant. Lucy's father was a Centers for Disease Control bigwig who's recently committed suicide, presumably due to fallout from his perceived role in an outbreak of plague that is spreading across America. Her mother, Isifrid, is a crack-addled gazillionaire, while grandmother Agneth talks incessantly of reincarnation, and younger half-sister Hannah harbors a huge obsession with disease. As the novel opens, Lucy sets off with her alcoholic, over-50 co-worker, Stanley, to attend the wedding of her best friend, Kam—who is marrying Eric, whom Lucy met first and fell in love with. After some hijinks, Lucy heads to a rehab facility in Texas. Over the course of Lucy's wild road trip, Maazel, daughter of conductor Loren, delivers some electric writing: the novel is brimming with wit, ideas and delightfully screwball humor."—Publishers Weekly

Synopsis:

A Time Out New York Best Book of the Year

Named one of the 5 Best Writers Under 35 by the National Book Foundation

Includes an Author Interview and Discussion Questions

A lethal strain of virus vanishes from a lab in Washington, D.C., unleashing an epidemic--and the world thinks Lucy Clark's father is to blame. The plague may be the least of Lucy's problems. There's her mother, Isifrid, a peddler of high-end hatwear who's also a crackhead; her twelve-year-old half sister, Hannah, obsessed with disease and Christian fundamentalism; and Lucy's lover, Stanley, who's hell-bent on finding a womb for his dead wife's frozen eggs. Finally, there's Lucy herself, who tries to surmount her drug addiction and keep her family intact in this brilliant novel about survival and recovery, opportunity and apocalypse, and, finally, love and faith in an age of anxiety. Fiona Maazel, born in 1975, was the 2005 Lannan Foundation fiction fellow. She lives in Brooklyn. Last Last Chance, Fiona Maazel's first novel, is one of the most distinctive debuts of recent years: a comic tale about (in no particular order) plague, narcotics recovery, and reincarnation.

A lethal strain of virus vanishes from a lab in Washington, D.C., unleashing an epidemic--and the world thinks Lucy Clark's dead father is to blame. The plague may be the least of Lucy's problems. There's her mother, Isifrid, a peddler of high-end hatwear who's also a crackhead and pagan theologist. There's her twelve-year-old half sister, Hannah, obsessed with disease and Christian fundamentalism; and Lucy's lover, Stanley, who's hell-bent on finding a womb for his dead wife's frozen eggs. Lastly, there's her grandmother Agneth, who believes in reincarnation (and who turns out to be right). And then there is Lucy herself, whose wise, warped approach to life makes her an ideal guide to love among the ruins. Romping across the country, from Southern California to the Texas desert to rural Pennsylvania and New York City, Lucy tries to surmount her drug addiction and to keep her family intact--and tells us, uproariously, all about it.

Last Last Chance is a novel about survival and recovery, opportunity and despair, and, finally, love and faith in an age of anxiety. It introduces Maazel as a new writer of phenomenal gifts.

Maazel's book has enough event--and enough eccentricity--to torpedo your average novel. But Last Last Chance isn't your average novel, thanks in no small part to Maazel's funny, lacerating prose. The book fits squarely in the tradition of novels about the wealthy and dissolute, but ultimately it's less John Cheever than Denis Johnson--the Denis Johnson of Jesus' Son, with its drug-addled narrators--though Maazel's voice is more caffeinated, more fueled by attitude . . . and more prone to hectoring . . . Maazel is particularly adept at conveying the desperation of the addict, how everything--even a potentially world-ending plague--is eclipsed by the need for a fix.--Joshua Henkin, The New York Times

Crisp dialogue, brisk pacing, dark yet compassionate comedy . . . A remarkable feat of the imagination.--Newsday

Moving, buoyant, and utterly true . . . Last Last Chance isn't your average novel, thanks in no small part to Maazel's funny, lacerating prose . . . Maazel is such a fine, precise writer, she can convince the reader of almost anything.--The New York Times Book Review

Maazel writes with a kind of ecstatic swagger--freewheeling and cocksure, intelligent and loopy and funny as hell.--Slate

Lithe prose, crackling wit, and a deep appreciation for the absurdity, spirtual poverty, and occasional nobility of Americans in a time of extreme crisis.--Time Out New York

Read this book now for the sentence-by-sentence brilliance of Maazel's inimitable voice . . . Maazel was born in 1975, but her imagination has been on fire for a thousand years.--Joshua Ferris, author of Then We Came to the End

When a lethal strain of virus vanishes from a lab in Washington, D.C., letting a super-plague loose on the world, Lucy Clark's father, a chemist, is blamed for its release. He promptly commits suicide, leaving his incredibly dysfunctional family to deal with the aftermath. The characters of Lucy and her mother, Isifrid, half-sister Hannah, and grandmother Agneth are developed in a hilarious fashion as we learn of their eccentricities. Lucy works in a kosher chicken processing plant. Isifrid sells high-end ladies' hats and studies Norse pagan theology. Hannah is obsessed with the plague and is a staunch believer in Christian fundamentalism. Agneth believes in reincarnation, and in Last Last Chance, her beliefs are proven to be right. Lucy's lover, Stanley, possesses his dead wife's frozen eggs, and they are interviewing for an appropriate surrogate to become the incubator for their yet-to-be born conceived children. From the first pages, drug addiction is also developed skillfully as a central supporting character. The author weaves the face of a drug addict into every story line in the book with deadly accuracy in detail. In the opening chapter, Lucy, an addict, is making plans to attend her oldest and best friend's wedding after a period of alienation. She goes to great lengths to buy just the right outfits for herself and Stanley and practices what she will say to her friend, Kam, and her financee when they are reunited. Unfortunately, she learns all too late that she has missed the wedding, because she was high when she looked at the invitation and misread the date. After this mistake, Lucy binges on drugs and eventually enters rehab at the insistence of her mother, who is also an addict. Lucy is in rehab when the super-plague surfaces and thousands of people begin to die. Her mother brings the family to rehab to hide from authorities who are seeking information about her dead husband's involvement in releasing the virus. She brings drugs, which Lucy helps herself to. When they are caught, Lucy's mother faces the painful fact that she must come to terms with her own addiction. Last Last Chance is creative, entertaining, and honest. Mental health professionals, especially drug counselors, will both enjoy and learn from this comic novel. The story explores the extent to which drug addiction influences and devastates people's lives, while leaving the door open for hope. This is seen when Lucy takes advantage of the chance to rehabilitate herself--in this case, her last last chance.--Sharron Perry, Psychiatric Services

A mordantly comic debut novel about plague, addiction and botched romance. First, there's Lucy. She's an addict. She's tried 12-step programs, rehab and working on a kosher chicken farm, but nothing seems to help. Then there's her mother, who is also an addict and even less committed to sobering up than Lucy. There's her grandmother, Agneth, who believes in reincarnation, and her preteen half sister, Hannah, who spends her free time studying infectious diseases and hanging out with white-supremacist fundamentalist Christians. There's also Stanley, a co-worker from the chicken farm, who is trying to find someone to gestate his dead wife's frozen gametes. There are the many dead, yet present, souls who inhabit (sort of) the novel's living characters. Then there's Lucy's father, who recently killed himself after a deadly virus went missing from his lab. Finally, there's the rest of the world, already enduring an age of anxiety and now just beginning to panic about the 'superplague' that's on the loose. Lucy is a loser and rather addled, but she's an engaging narrator, and her views on addiction and recovery are frequently funny and insightful. She stops into a 12-step meeting just after the virus has started to take its first victims and offers this assessment: 'The meeting goes on. No one mentions superplague, but then no one would. We are entirely too self-centered to let such matters upstage miseries of our own devising.' This observation captures much of the action in the novel. Maazel deftly depicts how routine trumps crisis, and how personal dramas tend to take precedence over global catastrophes. Lucy, for example, is far more angst-ridden over a failed romance than she is about looming mass extinction. Killer viruses, when they appear in fiction, are generally the catalyst for fast-paced thrills, and there is a certain off-kilter appeal to Maazel's slower, more intimate and aimless approach.--Kirkus Reviews

Lucy is a drug addict, as is her mother. Her grandmother believes in reincarnation. Her half-sister believes in research and Jesus. Her father is believed to have released an incurable strain of the plague that is killing capriciously across the United States. Lucy, in her way, hopes to get drug-free, but her pessimistic outlook, her chronic depression, her crazy family, and the world that surrounds her all conspire to keep her from achieving that goal. She can't have the man she loves; she doesn't appreciate the man she has. After a wild stay at a Texas rehab, Lucy finds that her sense of the world has shifted. When her mother dies, and Lucy 'inherits' her best friend's baby, her transformation to cautious optimism is complete. First novelist Maazel's descriptive powers are strong, and she captures the alternating hope and despair of her complex and quirky characters as they confront the unknown and the unknowable. Recommended.--Joanna M. Burkhardt, School Library Journal

A sprawling debut with an alternately absurdist and sardonic tone, Maazel's debut follows the tribulations of Lucy, a young drug addict who works at a New York City kosher chicken plant. Lucy's father was a Centers for Disease Control bigwig who's recently committed suicide, presumably due to fallout from his perceived role in an outbreak of plague that is spreading across America. Her mother, Isifrid, is a crack-addled gazillionaire, while grandmother Agneth talks incessantly of

Synopsis:

A Time Out New York Best Book of the Year

Named one of the 5 Best Writers Under 35 by the National Book Foundation

Includes an Author Interview and Discussion Questions

A lethal strain of virus vanishes from a lab in Washington, D.C., unleashing an epidemic--and the world thinks Lucy Clark's father is to blame. The plague may be the least of Lucy's problems. There's her mother, Isifrid, a peddler of high-end hatwear who's also a crackhead; her twelve-year-old half sister, Hannah, obsessed with disease and Christian fundamentalism; and Lucy's lover, Stanley, who's hell-bent on finding a womb for his dead wife's frozen eggs. Finally, there's Lucy herself, who tries to surmount her drug addiction and keep her family intact in this brilliant novel about survival and recovery, opportunity and apocalypse, and, finally, love and faith in an age of anxiety.

About the Author

Fiona Maazel, born in 1975, was the recipient of a 2005 Lannan Literary Fellowship. She lives in Brooklyn.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

MitchW, January 1, 2010 (view all comments by MitchW)
More attention needs to be paid to this debut novel. Absorbing from page 1 to its conclusion, "Last Last Chance" taps into the frightening reality of 21st Century America, tackling everything from drug addiction to biological terrorism and what instigates fear responses in individuals and large groups of people.

Despite the fact that the book's heroine, Lucy Clark, is confronting (or running from) a litany of personal problems that include her own and her mother's drug addictions, a broken heart, crippling depression, and the death by suicide of her father after his unstoppable super-plague virus is stolen from a lab--threatening to wipe out most of the human race--much of this novel is actually...hilarious.

That's because Lucy narrates the tale with deadpan cynicism and wit. She's completely aware of her own faults and leanings toward self-destruction, but she narrates with pitch-perfect black humor the play-by-play of absurdity displayed her fellow Americans, who resort to mob mentality at the first sign of trouble.

Visits to a drug rehab ranch in the most desolate part of Texas and to a kind of "outward bound" right-wing Christian-cult summer camp for kids are just two examples of the surreal and very funny side trips Lucy takes from her home in New York City as the virus spreads around the country.

And while the book could have suffered from glibness in its portrayal of a hip woman dealing with drug problems, it doesn't shy from the terrible realities of dependence, and there are moments of deeply moving introspection and confession from the afflicted characters.

But "Last Last Chance" is ultimately a novel of and about our times, revealing people desperate to love but afraid to do so, and a country running from itself and fears both imagined and--at times--all too real.

There are also ruminations on reincarnation, the inevitable cyclical patterns of family histories, even Norse mythology.

"Last Last Chance" is infused with humor, compassion and fresh insight into modern human frailty. It will make you laugh in one moment and send a shiver down your spine the next, and will leave you eagerly awaiting the next work from this exciting young writer.

It's my favorite book of the decade.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No

Product Details

ISBN:
9780312428310
Author:
Maazel, Fiona
Publisher:
Picador USA
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Drug addicts
Subject:
Picaresque literature
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
Science Fiction/Apocalyptic & Post-Apocalyptic
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
20090331
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
368
Dimensions:
8.5 x 5.5 x 0.811 in

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
History and Social Science » American Studies » Popular Culture

Last Last Chance New Trade Paper
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Product details 368 pages Picador USA - English 9780312428310 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , A Time Out New York Best Book of the Year

Named one of the 5 Best Writers Under 35 by the National Book Foundation

Includes an Author Interview and Discussion Questions

A lethal strain of virus vanishes from a lab in Washington, D.C., unleashing an epidemic--and the world thinks Lucy Clark's father is to blame. The plague may be the least of Lucy's problems. There's her mother, Isifrid, a peddler of high-end hatwear who's also a crackhead; her twelve-year-old half sister, Hannah, obsessed with disease and Christian fundamentalism; and Lucy's lover, Stanley, who's hell-bent on finding a womb for his dead wife's frozen eggs. Finally, there's Lucy herself, who tries to surmount her drug addiction and keep her family intact in this brilliant novel about survival and recovery, opportunity and apocalypse, and, finally, love and faith in an age of anxiety. Fiona Maazel, born in 1975, was the 2005 Lannan Foundation fiction fellow. She lives in Brooklyn. Last Last Chance, Fiona Maazel's first novel, is one of the most distinctive debuts of recent years: a comic tale about (in no particular order) plague, narcotics recovery, and reincarnation.

A lethal strain of virus vanishes from a lab in Washington, D.C., unleashing an epidemic--and the world thinks Lucy Clark's dead father is to blame. The plague may be the least of Lucy's problems. There's her mother, Isifrid, a peddler of high-end hatwear who's also a crackhead and pagan theologist. There's her twelve-year-old half sister, Hannah, obsessed with disease and Christian fundamentalism; and Lucy's lover, Stanley, who's hell-bent on finding a womb for his dead wife's frozen eggs. Lastly, there's her grandmother Agneth, who believes in reincarnation (and who turns out to be right). And then there is Lucy herself, whose wise, warped approach to life makes her an ideal guide to love among the ruins. Romping across the country, from Southern California to the Texas desert to rural Pennsylvania and New York City, Lucy tries to surmount her drug addiction and to keep her family intact--and tells us, uproariously, all about it.

Last Last Chance is a novel about survival and recovery, opportunity and despair, and, finally, love and faith in an age of anxiety. It introduces Maazel as a new writer of phenomenal gifts.

Maazel's book has enough event--and enough eccentricity--to torpedo your average novel. But Last Last Chance isn't your average novel, thanks in no small part to Maazel's funny, lacerating prose. The book fits squarely in the tradition of novels about the wealthy and dissolute, but ultimately it's less John Cheever than Denis Johnson--the Denis Johnson of Jesus' Son, with its drug-addled narrators--though Maazel's voice is more caffeinated, more fueled by attitude . . . and more prone to hectoring . . . Maazel is particularly adept at conveying the desperation of the addict, how everything--even a potentially world-ending plague--is eclipsed by the need for a fix.--Joshua Henkin, The New York Times

Crisp dialogue, brisk pacing, dark yet compassionate comedy . . . A remarkable feat of the imagination.--Newsday

Moving, buoyant, and utterly true . . . Last Last Chance isn't your average novel, thanks in no small part to Maazel's funny, lacerating prose . . . Maazel is such a fine, precise writer, she can convince the reader of almost anything.--The New York Times Book Review

Maazel writes with a kind of ecstatic swagger--freewheeling and cocksure, intelligent and loopy and funny as hell.--Slate

Lithe prose, crackling wit, and a deep appreciation for the absurdity, spirtual poverty, and occasional nobility of Americans in a time of extreme crisis.--Time Out New York

Read this book now for the sentence-by-sentence brilliance of Maazel's inimitable voice . . . Maazel was born in 1975, but her imagination has been on fire for a thousand years.--Joshua Ferris, author of Then We Came to the End

When a lethal strain of virus vanishes from a lab in Washington, D.C., letting a super-plague loose on the world, Lucy Clark's father, a chemist, is blamed for its release. He promptly commits suicide, leaving his incredibly dysfunctional family to deal with the aftermath. The characters of Lucy and her mother, Isifrid, half-sister Hannah, and grandmother Agneth are developed in a hilarious fashion as we learn of their eccentricities. Lucy works in a kosher chicken processing plant. Isifrid sells high-end ladies' hats and studies Norse pagan theology. Hannah is obsessed with the plague and is a staunch believer in Christian fundamentalism. Agneth believes in reincarnation, and in Last Last Chance, her beliefs are proven to be right. Lucy's lover, Stanley, possesses his dead wife's frozen eggs, and they are interviewing for an appropriate surrogate to become the incubator for their yet-to-be born conceived children. From the first pages, drug addiction is also developed skillfully as a central supporting character. The author weaves the face of a drug addict into every story line in the book with deadly accuracy in detail. In the opening chapter, Lucy, an addict, is making plans to attend her oldest and best friend's wedding after a period of alienation. She goes to great lengths to buy just the right outfits for herself and Stanley and practices what she will say to her friend, Kam, and her financee when they are reunited. Unfortunately, she learns all too late that she has missed the wedding, because she was high when she looked at the invitation and misread the date. After this mistake, Lucy binges on drugs and eventually enters rehab at the insistence of her mother, who is also an addict. Lucy is in rehab when the super-plague surfaces and thousands of people begin to die. Her mother brings the family to rehab to hide from authorities who are seeking information about her dead husband's involvement in releasing the virus. She brings drugs, which Lucy helps herself to. When they are caught, Lucy's mother faces the painful fact that she must come to terms with her own addiction. Last Last Chance is creative, entertaining, and honest. Mental health professionals, especially drug counselors, will both enjoy and learn from this comic novel. The story explores the extent to which drug addiction influences and devastates people's lives, while leaving the door open for hope. This is seen when Lucy takes advantage of the chance to rehabilitate herself--in this case, her last last chance.--Sharron Perry, Psychiatric Services

A mordantly comic debut novel about plague, addiction and botched romance. First, there's Lucy. She's an addict. She's tried 12-step programs, rehab and working on a kosher chicken farm, but nothing seems to help. Then there's her mother, who is also an addict and even less committed to sobering up than Lucy. There's her grandmother, Agneth, who believes in reincarnation, and her preteen half sister, Hannah, who spends her free time studying infectious diseases and hanging out with white-supremacist fundamentalist Christians. There's also Stanley, a co-worker from the chicken farm, who is trying to find someone to gestate his dead wife's frozen gametes. There are the many dead, yet present, souls who inhabit (sort of) the novel's living characters. Then there's Lucy's father, who recently killed himself after a deadly virus went missing from his lab. Finally, there's the rest of the world, already enduring an age of anxiety and now just beginning to panic about the 'superplague' that's on the loose. Lucy is a loser and rather addled, but she's an engaging narrator, and her views on addiction and recovery are frequently funny and insightful. She stops into a 12-step meeting just after the virus has started to take its first victims and offers this assessment: 'The meeting goes on. No one mentions superplague, but then no one would. We are entirely too self-centered to let such matters upstage miseries of our own devising.' This observation captures much of the action in the novel. Maazel deftly depicts how routine trumps crisis, and how personal dramas tend to take precedence over global catastrophes. Lucy, for example, is far more angst-ridden over a failed romance than she is about looming mass extinction. Killer viruses, when they appear in fiction, are generally the catalyst for fast-paced thrills, and there is a certain off-kilter appeal to Maazel's slower, more intimate and aimless approach.--Kirkus Reviews

Lucy is a drug addict, as is her mother. Her grandmother believes in reincarnation. Her half-sister believes in research and Jesus. Her father is believed to have released an incurable strain of the plague that is killing capriciously across the United States. Lucy, in her way, hopes to get drug-free, but her pessimistic outlook, her chronic depression, her crazy family, and the world that surrounds her all conspire to keep her from achieving that goal. She can't have the man she loves; she doesn't appreciate the man she has. After a wild stay at a Texas rehab, Lucy finds that her sense of the world has shifted. When her mother dies, and Lucy 'inherits' her best friend's baby, her transformation to cautious optimism is complete. First novelist Maazel's descriptive powers are strong, and she captures the alternating hope and despair of her complex and quirky characters as they confront the unknown and the unknowable. Recommended.--Joanna M. Burkhardt, School Library Journal

A sprawling debut with an alternately absurdist and sardonic tone, Maazel's debut follows the tribulations of Lucy, a young drug addict who works at a New York City kosher chicken plant. Lucy's father was a Centers for Disease Control bigwig who's recently committed suicide, presumably due to fallout from his perceived role in an outbreak of plague that is spreading across America. Her mother, Isifrid, is a crack-addled gazillionaire, while grandmother Agneth talks incessantly of

"Synopsis" by ,

A Time Out New York Best Book of the Year

Named one of the 5 Best Writers Under 35 by the National Book Foundation

Includes an Author Interview and Discussion Questions

A lethal strain of virus vanishes from a lab in Washington, D.C., unleashing an epidemic--and the world thinks Lucy Clark's father is to blame. The plague may be the least of Lucy's problems. There's her mother, Isifrid, a peddler of high-end hatwear who's also a crackhead; her twelve-year-old half sister, Hannah, obsessed with disease and Christian fundamentalism; and Lucy's lover, Stanley, who's hell-bent on finding a womb for his dead wife's frozen eggs. Finally, there's Lucy herself, who tries to surmount her drug addiction and keep her family intact in this brilliant novel about survival and recovery, opportunity and apocalypse, and, finally, love and faith in an age of anxiety.

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